Twilio Launches Flex Cloud Contact Center Platform



Twilio, providers of a cloud communications platform, today launched Twilio Flex, a fully programmable cloud contact center platform.

Since its announcement in March, Flex has already rolled out to thousands of contact center agents, including support and sales teams at Lyft, Scorpion, Shopify and U-Haul. In addition, more than 145 consulting and technology partners are supporting Flex via the Twilio Build program.

"It's been amazing to see the excitement Flex has created in the contact center market since our announcement in March," said Al Cook, general manager of Twilio Flex, in a statement. "Enterprises no longer have to make the choice of whether to build or buy because Flex deploys like a SaaS application, integrates like a premise-based solution, and iterates at the pace of a web platform. As of today, we will be rolling out Twilio Flex to the thousands of companies who signed up during beta. We can't wait to see what they create."

Twilio Flex allows businesses to programmatically customize every element of their contact center experience, from the core infrastructure to the user interface.

The product also leverages Twilio's technologies for monitoring, reporting, and speech analytics based on its acquisition of Ytica, a workforce optimization provider.

With Twilio Flex, companies can do the following:

  • Deploy instantly and integrate quickly. To customize, businesses can integrate Flex into Salesforce.com and Zendesk using pre-built connectors or add additional capabilities, such as phrase detection, call scoring, and intelligent redaction of recordings, using pre-integrated partner technologies in the Twilio Marketplace.
  • Deliver a true omnichannel experience with access to more than a dozen channels out of the box, including voice, SMS, video and WhatsApp. Developers can also integrate data from custom channels and CRM systems to add context to conversations -- all in a single customizable interface.
  • Have complete visibility and control over interaction data. Flex gives administrators analytics and insights to manage performance, quality, and customer experience. Flex comes with real-time event stream, supervisor desktop, and admin desktop, plus native workforce optimization.
  • Automate the known and escalate the unknown: Using Autopilot, Twilio's conversational artificial intelligence platform, businesses can rely on machine learning-powered bots that automate information gathering and respond to frequently asked questions and then transition the conversation to a human agent using Flex for more complex queries.
  • Enable agents to securely process payments. Powered by Twilio <Pay>, Twilio's new API for building payment experiences, contact center agents can now securely accept credit card payments from customers over the phone.
  • Run their entire contact center on Twilio's cloud infrastructure. Twilio Flex's new plugin framework allows developers to make changes and retain control of their contact center applications, while still benefiting from continuous improvements made to the rest of the application by Twilio.

Since Twilio launched Flex to an over-subscribed preview program in March, thousands of businesses have requested access to Twilio Flex, across industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, travel, media, and technology.

"The exciting thing about Flex is it allows us to build customer experiences the way we want, without having to change our business," said Chris Wilson, director of support operations at Shopify, in a statement. "We can wrap Flex around our business instead of having to wrap the business around Flex.">

"When Twilio announced Flex in March, it took the contact center market by storm," said Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics. "Over the past 10 years, Twilio has built a community of 2 million-plus happy developers and 50,000-plus active customer accounts ready to explore Twilio Flex as they search for the perfect cloud contact center solution to replace aging, inflexible premises-based systems."

Twilio has already signed a number of partners for the Flex ecosystem. These include Perficient, Presidio, and Avtex.

"Twilio Flex is an entirely new approach to contact centers, providing today's organizations with a cloud platform they can use to drive innovation in customer service. With Twilio Flex, we have the best of both worlds: it's reliable and scalable, while also providing customization and the ability to integrate with CRM systems and line-of-business applications. Companies can now focus on developing the right customer care strategies, making human connections with customers while providing a foundation for future growth," said Matt McGillen, vice president at Perficient.

In addition, technology partners, including Google Cloud, IBM Watson, and Voicebase, are providing customers with one-click integrations for capabilities such as sentiment analysis, workforce optimization, workforce management, analytics, reporting, and storage.

Flex's pricing model is also unique. Developers can get started for free, with 5,000 active user hours. Customers can scale flexibly with two pricing options: $1 per active agent hour or $150 per user per month. The price includes use of the features within Flex, such as instant omnichannel capabilities, a customizable user interface, WFO, and real-time reporting. Advanced speech analytics is an additional $0.25/active user hour, or $40 per user per month. Carrier connectivity, phone numbers, PSTN connections, and SMS are charged at Twilio's usage-based prices.